This article originally appeared in the July 2020 issue.
Not too many people can say their truck has been featured in a music video, but Nick Butts isn’t like most people. Through a friend, the Texas native was put in contact with someone from the Granger Smith Team who was looking for over-the-top trucks to run in a video for the country song “Holler.”
In the video that was released in 2019, Granger Smith showcases his Texas roots and perfectly reflects country living with truck burnouts, bonfires and guns. Even Granger’s alter ego, Earl Dibbles Jr., makes an appearance in the “Holler” video.
It’s hard not to like the country artist, especially when he uses diesel trucks in his videos, but Granger has also performed for soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait, which appeals to Nick whose time in the U.S. Army was cut short after being medically discharged following an injury.
Just shy of five years of service, Nick started as a gunner with his main job making sure the weapons were functional and ready on the truck, while assisting the driver. Eventually he moved up to being the driver himself and he also served in Hawaii as a military police officer.
After being released from the Army, Nick pursued his dream of building a show truck for SEMA. The annual Specialty Equipment Market Association Show is the pinnacle for vehicle owners and it is considered one of the most difficult feats to earn the privilege of displaying a custom build at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Nick bought his 2015 6.7L Power Stroke brand-new and got started with wheels, turbo kit and exhaust and then just continued to build it up. The majority of the work was done at Texas Born Performance, a shop owned by his friend whom he’s known since high school. His dream was fulfilled a few years later when his Ford F250 was on display at SEMA in 2018. How it went from bone stock to SEMA-worthy was quite a journey, but one he was willing to take.
Looking at this beautiful pearl white with gold flake truck today it’s hard to imagine it was ever stock. The first thing that jumps out when you see it – other than Ultimate Air Ride 12- to 18-inch suspension – is all the gold accent colors. House Of Kolor was heavily involved in making this build a truck that stands out at a show full of other custom builds.
From the frame and Metal Fab front sway bar to the rear Hellwig sway bar, there is plenty of gold and that doesn’t even include what’s under the hood. The 6.7L Power Stroke includes an upgraded intercooler, stage two cold air intake, crank case vent, EGR, coolant tank and cap kit that are all from NO LIMIT; all, of course, are gold-colored as well to tie everything in.
“I saw a truck once that had more of a brushed gold look and another that had a set of gold wheels that I liked, but when it came to my own truck I wanted to do it the right way by being extreme but not flashy,” says Nick. “So I had everything chrome-plated first and then powder-coated. I thought out every little part to make sure it wasn't overdone with too much gold and made sure it had the right flow.”
Also gold-colored are the H&S 64mm turbo kit pipes and turbo with the manifolds and FLO-PRO 5-inch downpipe painted high temperature black. However, the best part of the exhaust setup might just be the custom gold exhaust tip from Krona Performance. Worth noting, the custom tunes are controlled through an EZ LYNK system.
Beyond what you can see at first glance there are some other touches that help make this a truly one-of-a-kind build.
“The rear doors were made into suicide doors using an old body style Chevy hinge and were done by KD Designs,” says Nick. “The grille was painted matt black, white and gold to match the truck, along with the side emblems and the front and rear badges. The tailgate was also painted black and embossed with Avery Dennison chrome gold by Scott Solar Control.”
Heard By All
For some truck owners, a high-quality sound system is equally as important as having an engine and that might be the case for Nick. Centered on a Kicker Audio stereo, each of the four doors have multiple speakers and with suicide doors the interior opens up nicely to really project the music. There is even a stereo remote outside the truck that helps control the two 6-inch tower speakers. The Kicker KXMA800.8 amplifier and KXMA1200.1 amplifier power it all and as if that wasn’t enough speakers, there are three Kicker L7 8-inch speakers hidden under the rear seat. The entire system was installed by Next Gen Audio.
In order to add those speakers, the rear seats needed to be raised 2 inches and the interior was sound-dampened using a Second Skin Sound Dampening, plus a Viper alarm was added. Of course, you can’t overlook the diamond-stitched leather seating that ties in perfectly with the diamond-stitched center console. It’s these added touches, including the custom iPad dash, that truly make it a dream build.
Not Stopping There
Other highlights include 26 by 16 American Force Wheels wrapped in 42-inch Fury Country Hunter M/T tires that are complemented by True spike lug nuts, a Bulletproof Hitches custom gold hitch and AMP Research dropdown steps.
Speaking of being heard, the Nathan AirChime K5LA from HornBlasters is considered the godfather of all train horns, so of course Nick needed this setup on his truck.
“My favorite part is just how loud the train horns are,” says Nick. “And when people ask me how loud they are I blow them and they never expect it to be that loud. If you’re close enough you can fill it in your chest.”
The train horns as well as the Air Lift P3H air management system are all tied into the VIAIR 485C seamless gold-colored air tanks.
The lights from Offroad LED Bars provide the added touch to tie it all in and include rock lights, 5.5 fog lights, dual 30-inch light bars behind the grille as well as specific lights for the bumper.
There are two F-O-A shocks per wheel and even the MAG-HYTEC front and rear differential covers, oil pan and transmission pan are gold-colored.
Nick started his own business, Crazy House Detailing, this year after detailing his own truck at shows led to other truck owners reaching out for help.
“I’ve always wanted to work for myself and own my own business so in January I started my own detailing company,” says Nick. “I offer everything from detailing, polishing, paint correction and ceramic coatings and I’ve learned a lot from the time I started to now and I'm very grateful for the mentors that have helped me. Detailing is what I do full-time now and I travel to shows to detail while showing my truck.”
When he’s not working (or cruising around in a music video) he loves driving around in his Texas-sized beast knowing he reached the goal he set for himself back when he was in the Army and that goal was to build a truck for SEMA. Mission accomplished.
Photos credited to Krookid Photography
American Force Wheels
Crazy House Detailing
800 762 4286
House Of Kolor
Next Gen Audio
NO LIMIT Fabrication
Second Skin Audio
Texas Born Performance
Ultimate Air Ride